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Is Obama Changing His Stance Towards Wall Street?

Politics / US Politics Dec 10, 2011 - 12:21 PM GMT

By: Danny_Schechter

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIs Obama changing?

Many in the Occupy Wall Street Movement are patting their efforts on the back, and even claiming credit for what looks like a shift by President Obama towards a more engaged campaign discussing economic fairness.

The President’s speech in Kansas was modeled on remarks made by the Republican Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. There’s nothing like quoting a Republican for credible centrist positioning. (Note: he quotes TR, not FDR.)


Will he embrace GOP Pres Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex next?  Unlikely.

Richard Eskow was quick to salute the new Obama:

“Barack Obama channeled one of American history's truly transformative figures by visiting the tiny Kansas town where Teddy Roosevelt gave his "New Nationalism" speech over a century ago. It was refreshing to see the President invoke his predecessor, who was a powerful and fearless agent of change both inside and outside the White House.

For the first time the President directly confronted the injustice of our
growing economic divide, which were caused by the ongoing rapacity of the
already-wealthy. He promised to take real action against the bankers who
accepted our help after ruining the economy, then went on hoarding the
nation's wealth for themselves at everyone else's expense.

Teddy would have been proud.” (He was also proud of his role in the bloody Spanish-American War that turned into the Vietnam before Vietnam.)

Clearly it’s more heartening to hear the president’s new-found embrace of the needs of the millions being hurt by Wall Street’s crime spree—rather than watch his more devious collusion with it.

His speech seemed more radical because of the way the right attacked it. A columnist for the Wall Street Journal compared him to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, but also saw the speech for what it was--- a campaign posture, a technique for rallying a disenchanted base, not a promise of tough action by the White House.

Writes Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, “Some will say hearing crude Chavista populism in the Obama speech is an overreaction. That once it's understood the Kansas speech was the work of the party leader, not the president of the United States, it becomes easier to think about it without overreacting to its intense and vivid rhetoric…”
President Roosevelt was sincerely battling the monopolists of his time, not opportunistically playing politics.

"One of the fundamental necessities in a representative government such as
ours," Roosevelt said, "is to make certain that the men to whom the people
delegate their power shall serve the people by whom they are elected, and
not the special interests."

"No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar's worth of service rendered-not gambling in stocks, but service rendered."

Amen.

Just recycling TR isnt the same as applying his policies. Even Eskow admits that, admitting, “the Obama Justice Department sits idly by as the SEC continues to let major corporations pay slap-on-the-wrist fines for executive criminality- fines that are often paid by the same shareholders they deceived – while "neither admitting nor denying wrongdoing."

Yves Smith of the Naked Capitalism blog goes further:

“Wow, I have to hand it to Obama’s spinmeisters. They’ve managed to find a way to resurrect his old hopium branding by calling it something completely different that still has many of the old associations.

And we have a twofer in Obama’s launch of his new branding as True Son of Teddy Roosevelt. …The second element of this finesse is that Obama is using the Rooseveltian imagery to claim he will pass legislation to get tough on Big Finance miscreants. That posture, is of course meant to underscore the idea that you just can’t get the perps with the present, weak set of laws.”

The Financial Times reported him saying” “financial institutions whose business model is built on breaking the law, cheating consumers or making risky bets that could damage the entire economy”.

I’ll be calling for legislation that makes [anti-fraud] penalties count – so that firms don’t see punishment for breaking the law as just the price of doing business.”

Sounds good, except there are laws and rules on the books right now that could be deployed!

Trying to get new “anti-business” legislation through the Republican Congress is sure to be a non-starter and only intended to give him a new club to attack his adversaries with, rather crack down on Wall Street fraud.

Writes Smith, “No, it has plenty of tools, starting with Sarbanes Oxley. As we’ve discussed at length in earlier posts, Sarbox was designed to eliminate the CEO and top brass “know nothing” excuse. And the language for civil and criminal charges is parallel, so a prosecutor could file criminal charges, and if successful, could then open up a related criminal case. Sarbox required that top executives (which means at least the CEO and CFO) certify the adequacy of internal controls, and for a big financial firm, that has to include risk controls and position valuation. The fact that the Administration didn’t attempt to go after, for instance, AIG on Sarbox is inexcusable. ….

We can go on and on detailing the many ways the President, reborn as  Teddy Roosevelt, was anything but a rough rider charging up Wall Street hill.

Writing on Huff Post, Jim Sleeper, a former journalist turned Yale professor, compared Obama’s speech to suggestions in an earlier article in the NY Times by Drew Westen, a critic telling him what he should be saying:

 “Here are some of the lines that Westen suggested in his essay last summer. Following them are the ones Obama delivered this week….

Westen last summer on what Obama should say:

"Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness..."

Obama last week::

"Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt's time, there's been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. 'The market will take care of everything,' they tell us. If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes - especially for the wealthy - our economy will grow stronger.... It's a simple theory - one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government.... . Here's the problem: It doesn't work. It's never worked…”

Well, at least Obama is open to suggestions but is it for a turn around in the way he’s governing,  or is it to find new applause lines?

Writes financial analyst Ellen Brown, “The continued dominance of the Wall Street money machine depends on… collective amnesia. The fact that this memory is surfacing again may be the machine's greatest threat -- and our greatest hope as a nation. order his Attorney General to enforce the laws right now.”

News Dissector Danny Schechters film and book Disinformation. For more information, Http://www.plunderhecrimeofourtime.com.

    News Dissector Danny Schechter has made a film and written a book on the “Crime Of Our Time.” (News Dissector.com/plunder.) Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

    © 2011 Copyright Danny Schechter - All Rights Reserved
    Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

End The Illusion
10 Dec 11, 17:58
President is owned by the banks

The simple fact that Obama tried to pressure the NY Attorney General to accept the "settlement" that would let the criminals bankers keep most of the money they stole is all the evidence you need to see that he is a paid servant of Wall Street. Add to that the fact that the Justice dept has not prosecuted any Wall Street criminals and you see the clear picture.

ACTIONS speak louder than words.


John
11 Dec 11, 14:34
Talk is cheap

Obama isn't going to change anything on Wall Street to benefit Main Street. Talk is cheap.


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